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Transgender Americans: We're Not Mentally Ill

Transgender Americans: We're Not Mentally Ill

The American Psychiatric Association considered homosexuality a mental illness until 1974. Today it still considers transgender Americans mentally ill. According to the authoritative Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), transgendered people suffer from Gender Identity Disorder. Activists argue that the diagnosis reinforces false stereotypes about people who are not "gender normal" and in some cases is used to deny people civil rights.

During this year's APA conference in San Francisco, activists are working to make the classification a thing of the past. They say:

It is time for culturally competent psychiatric policies that recognize the legitimacy of cross-gender identity and yet distinguish gender dysphoria (which often requires a sex-reassignment surgery) as a serious condition, treatable with medical procedures.

Members of the ADA, some transgender themselves, are also arguing that identifying with or expressing a gender different from assigned birth sex is not, in itself, grounds for diagnosing a mental disorder.

Do you think it's time the APA stops considering people who don't identify with conventional gender mentally ill?


Join The Conversation
mistwolf mistwolf 8 years
^^ Tzivya is me, and I do wish this site would keep me logged in. ><
Aimeelo Aimeelo 8 years
The issue with the DSM is that with ANY disorder a patient is then labeled with that disorder for life even if the diagnosis changes or is wrongly diagnosed. Being labeled with a disorder is a stigma that follows people in medical files and Docs will see the disorder and assume that any knew problems are associated with the disorder. It's very hard to get rid of the label. Janneth, it can't be a physical disorder because there is nothing physically wrong with them. It's a mental problem. They do not see themselves as their biological sex and after making mental changes about becoming a different gender they will go on to make physical changes but it is still an "abnormal" mentality that leads to the physical change
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
What does being, "culturally competent" have to do with medicine and or diagnosis? Sounds like peer pressure to me.
janneth janneth 8 years
Can it be a physical disorder, and not a mental illness?
Allytta Allytta 8 years
i don't consider them being ill, but a word disorder is fitting. maybe i just don't overreact to the word disorder. it is quite mellow in my book. as someone said, if there's treatment - there's a disorder. and can they actually argue it's normal? it is an anomaly and doctors gave it a name. it's just not an illness. it can't get cured by shock therapy or something. it's who they are. i guess anyone who wants to change their appearances has some kind of disorder. even when we colour our hair.
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
they VOTE on what is considered a qualifying condition for DSM, so there you go. with something like a broken arm, doctors can look at an x-ray and agree. but with things like behavior it's very different.
sprinkibrio sprinkibrio 8 years
It's unfortunate mentally ill/mental disorders have such a bad connotation. It's known are not something controllable and many have strong genetic/physical components.
sprinkibrio sprinkibrio 8 years
Yeah, they also say they want to take transvestic fetishism, (a separate disorder where heterosexual males who get turned on by dressing up as females) out of the paraphilia category. I can see where this seems reasonable but the definition of a paraphilia is a condition "characterized by recurrent, intense sexual urges, fantasies, or behaviors that involve unusual objects, activities, or situations and cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning." Clinically significant distress and impairment is KEY. They've already covered for any issues.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
I think that we're conflating the terms "Disorder" with being "Mentally Ill." Does one imply the other? I like the idea that once they're the "new" sex, it's not a disorder anymore. But while they want to change, I do agree it's something requiring treatment.
sprinkibrio sprinkibrio 8 years
I have a strong opinion on this!!!!!!! The DSM is a book of knowledge about mental illness. If they take it out, there's basically no way to know what to do help these people transition to a gender they are comfortable with. There is a treatment for gender identity disorder--plastic surgery and horomones. If there is a TREATMENT it is a DISORDER!
Love-and-Sex Love-and-Sex 8 years
It's such a complicated issue to get down to a few paragraphs! But from what I understood (and as explained in the quote), the advocates want gender dysphoria to be considered a serious conditions (and thus covered by insurance). However, they'd like to see other expressions of gender that go against "normal gender" removed from the DSM.
ravenavery ravenavery 8 years
I agree that transgendered people should *not* be considered mentally ill, but I wish this little story discussed why some people promote including transgender individuals in mentally ill category -- for example, as a way to better ensure insurance coverage to transgendered people seeking medical/mental health treatment (not necessarily to "correct" the illness).
French-Kiss French-Kiss 8 years
I never thought, and i'm never gonna think that transgender is an illness....
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